Read

Search form

Tennessee Joins States Restricting Drone Flights, Citing Fourth Amendment

Tennessee Joins States Restricting Drone Flights, Citing Fourth Amendment
Tue, 5/28/2013 - by Mint Press
This article originally appeared on Mint Press News

Last week, Tennessee became the latest state to pass legislation limiting unmanned aerial drone flights in its territory. Governor Bill Haslam signed the Freedom of Unwarranted Surveillance Act into law making it the fifth state to have passed legislation restricting drone surveillance by police and federal agencies.

Citing a tally published by the American Civil Liberties Union, CBS News reports this month that legislation aimed at limiting drone flights by police departments has been proposed in 41 states and enacted into law in five states.

The legislation bucks previous industry projections claiming multibillion dollar growth in drone manufacturing over the next decade.

Previously, the Federal Aviation Administration projected that there could be as many as 30,000 unmanned drones flying in U.S. airspace by 2020.

The state law comes on the heels of President Obama’s policy speech Thursday, addressing drone use abroad in operations that kill suspected terrorists and militants. The president defended the use of drone strikes, saying, “Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.”

Some were left unsatisfied by his defense, worried that Obama will continue to use his powers broadly, in ways that could violate the constitution. Senator Angus King of Maine called the speech “astoundingly disturbing” and said the Defense Department officials “have essentially rewritten the Constitution.”

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that since 2002, U.S. drone strikes have killed up to 947 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the main drone lobby organization, promises23,000 new jobs across the U.S. by 2025. Global spending on unmanned aircraft is projected to double over the next decade, from $5.9 billion annually to $11.3 billion. The Teal Group, an aviation and defense consulting firm, predicts that most of this growth will be in the U.S.

Drones have many uses including energy exploration, weather research, traffic control, wildlife tracking and movie production. For legislators in Tennessee, police drone surveillance remains a concern that led to the passage Monday of the bill limiting their use. Earlier industry estimates may have to be reduced after Tennessee and other states curb drone flights.

The Tenth Amendment Center, a group supporting states’ rights and individual liberties, describes the bill introduced by Tennessee Sen. Mae Beavers as having undergone a “roller coaster adventure through the legislative process” before eventually passing 32-0 in the Senate and 91-0 in the House.

“As this number [of drones] increases, it is very important that they are operated responsibly and consistently, as well as in accordance with our Fourth Amendment Rights,” Beavers said in April when the bill passed the state’s Senate.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires warrants be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.

Several exceptions are granted in the Tennessee law, allowing the federal government to fly drones in order “to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States secretary of homeland security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk.”

State and local law enforcement agencies are still allowed to fly drones for surveillance purposes, but must first obtain a search warrant signed by a judge in order to do so. Only in cases “to prevent imminent danger to life” such as a terrorist attack, are police allowed to forgo the warrant approval process.

Tennessee now joins a bevy of other states that have either proposed or enacted legislation limiting the use of unmanned drone aircraft in their airspace.

There is still active legislation currently being debated in 28 states.

 

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

climate chaos, carbon emissions, climate movement, Break Free from Fossil Fuels, worldwide climate protests, disrupting dirty power, Climate Mobilization, 350.org, keep it in the ground, renewable energy transition

Starting next week, a global wave of mass actions will target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.

protest movements, social mobilizations, movement of the squares, Occupy Wall Street, Podemos Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, protest demands, horizontal democracy, Arab Spring, Nuit Debout

The movements of the squares were a watershed moment that profoundly changed grassroots and institutional politics – they have enthused in equal measure as they have disappointed, both under-delivering and over-delivering on their promises.

The Bay Area currency operates a commercial barter system – where businesses with unused inventory or excess capacity "deposit" their excess into an exchange, and “withdraw” other businesses’ excess goods and services instead of money.

climate crisis, climate information, Climate Feedback, accurate climate coverage

Climate Feedback brings together a global network of scientists who use a new web-annotation platform to provide feedback on climate change reporting.

Black Lives Matter, ACLU of Oregon, state surveillance, surveillance programs

Monitoring the social media use of BLM activists is an example of "how the level of trust between law enforcement and communities of color has been so damaged," the civil rights group says.

migrant crisis, East African migrants, migrant smugglers, organ trafficking

A week ago, on April 17, 400 East Africans drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after their boat capsized on the way to Italy – and when the numbers get this big, we forget that they are individual lives being lost, like this, every day.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago
Panama Papers, tax avoidance, tax shelters, corporate tax evasion, Oxfam

The names on the list of "Broken At the Top" are like a who’s who of big business – and some of the headline figures are simply staggering.

Posted 3 days 13 hours ago
British academies, privatized education, lower teaching standards, low teacher pay, National Union of Teachers, Anti-Academies Alliance

“It is a complete bonfire of pay and conditions," said David Gilchrist of the Anti-Academies Alliance, who claims the government has "no evidence to back up the claim that academies improve educational standards – in fact the opposite is true."

Posted 4 days 15 hours ago

In recent weeks, thousands of people marched and were arrested on the steps of the Capitol demanding that the people’s voice be heard: that we the people, not money, be the driving force of our government.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

The Bay Area currency operates a commercial barter system – where businesses with unused inventory or excess capacity "deposit" their excess into an exchange, and “withdraw” other businesses’ excess goods and services instead of money.

Posted 2 days 14 hours ago
migrant crisis, East African migrants, migrant smugglers, organ trafficking

A week ago, on April 17, 400 East Africans drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after their boat capsized on the way to Italy – and when the numbers get this big, we forget that they are individual lives being lost, like this, every day.

solar energy, rooftop solar, California clean energy policies, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, carbon emissions, San Francisco solar policy

Starting Jan. 1 of next year, new commercial and residential buildings here up to 10 stories high must install rooftop solar systems for heat or electricity – making San Francisco the first major U.S. city to enact such legislation.

protest movements, social mobilizations, movement of the squares, Occupy Wall Street, Podemos Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, protest demands, horizontal democracy, Arab Spring, Nuit Debout

The movements of the squares were a watershed moment that profoundly changed grassroots and institutional politics – they have enthused in equal measure as they have disappointed, both under-delivering and over-delivering on their promises.

British academies, privatized education, lower teaching standards, low teacher pay, National Union of Teachers, Anti-Academies Alliance

“It is a complete bonfire of pay and conditions," said David Gilchrist of the Anti-Academies Alliance, who claims the government has "no evidence to back up the claim that academies improve educational standards – in fact the opposite is true."

In recent weeks, thousands of people marched and were arrested on the steps of the Capitol demanding that the people’s voice be heard: that we the people, not money, be the driving force of our government.